I seem to have been cooking more and more Asian-style meals. I make a lot of salads during the week, along with more plain meat and veggie dishes, but to mix things up a bit I'll start searching for interesting meals such as this one. Gregg is always happy when I tell him what I have found as he loves anything like this. You can look at the original recipe at "She Knows", in the recipe section here.
This recipe calls for those packets of Ramen Noodle Soup but you throw the little packet away, so you'll be getting rid of all that sodium plus that's so bad for you.
Ramen Noodles with Tofu and Spicy Peanut Sauce
2 (3 ounce) packets of Ramen Noodles (any kind will work - you will be discarding the flavor packet)
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons garlic-chili paste
3 to 4 dashes hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 ounces firm tofu, sliced thin (the original recipe called for tempeh, but I couldn't find it at our local supermarket)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, sliced into thin pieces
1/4 cup chopped peanuts for garnish
2 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced for garnish
For the sauce, combine the water and peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. whisk together to combine.
Reduce the heat to low and add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, honey, garlic-chili paste and hot sauce. Whisk until all the ingredients blend together into a smooth sauce. Keep the pan on the lowest setting to keep warm.
Add the vegetable oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the tempeh and cook for a few minutes, turning over with a spatula so that each side will brown nicely.
Boil water in a saucepan and begin to cook the ramen noodles according to the package directions (this usually takes 3 minutes).
Add the garlic and red sweet bell pepper to the tofu and cook, stirring, just until the ramen noodles have finished cooking.
Drain the noodles and add them to a large bowl, along with the tofu, red pepper and garlic.
Pour some of the sauce over the tofu/noodle mixture, and toss to combine. Add more sauce as needed.
Serve in individual bowls and garnish with the chopped peanuts and green onion.
What did we think of this dish? Well for a start Gregg loved it. He is great at trying different things but when I tell him I am going to cook a meatless dish, let alone serve him tofu, he is a little skeptical. What made this dish was the sauce and if you are one of those people who isn't too fond of tofu, try this dish and see what you think.
I couldn't get any tempeh in my local grocery store (I read later it is available in health food stores in the refrigerator section), so I made do with firm tofu. Tempeh is also made with soy beans but apparently it is a lot healthier than tofu, containing more protein and fiber. It also adds a chewier consistency and like tofu, you can use it in other recipes by crumbling it up and adding it to soups, casseroles or pasta sauce. I've also seen recipes where it is mixed in with smoothies, though I haven't tried that yet.
It wasn't too hot or spicy which is fine with me. I still felt a little heat at the back of the throat and on the tongue. Gregg was surprised I had added any hot sauce at all. I'm just super sensitive to that stuff, and I figured if he wants to add extra then the bottle is on the table. However, he was enjoying it so much he didn't bother.